Kent Chubbs manages a popular fetish nightclub called Den O’Iniquity in a small conservative town and the demanding, ever-present pressure to close his proclaimed “smut” club from the angry puritanical protestors and unethical politicians have Kent on the hair pulling fences about what to exactly do with his beloved club and loyal employees. To make the matters worse, Kent’s father and club owner, Shank Chubbs, is knocking on death’s door with a bad ticker. To make the matters even more worse, the club’s been a remarkable safe haven for those who choose to express their closeted intimate desires in spanking, furry sex, or lube wrestling, but, during the holiday season, the club has had a low hanging dark cloud in a form of a deranged killer whose been destructively rampaging through the club’s most precious employees and enthusiastic patrons. In order to save everything he holds dear, Kent must find a way to keep everything afloat despite the challenges and his ill-advised legal advice from his acid tripping hippie attorney while also tracking down a psychopath.
In 2007, Richard Griffin directed a hybrid film that structured an abled bodied comedy and interjected moments of gruesome horror and fashioned it with elaborate musical numbers and the result was a niche slasher-musical simply known as “Splatter Disco.” We like this film. Actually, we love this film. Not because we enjoy watching and reviewing Richard Griffin films (see “Flesh for the Inferno,” “The Sins of Dracula,” “The Disco Exorcist,” “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead,” “Future Justice”) and enjoy seeing where his toddler career began, but because “Splatter Disco” embodies the unlikely mixture of oil and water genres, doesn’t take itself seriously, and was whole-heartedly invested in by some of the biggest names in cult cinema as well as some talented actors and actresses you’ve may have never heard of before, but should certainly know.
Ken Foree, Lynn Lowry, and Debbie Rochon. Three big, well-known names that add their own delectable charm into the mix and, also, three big names who have developed a dynamic, who know each other’s styles, and who can still churn new material on the fly like it’s no big deal. Tack on Trent Haaga (“The Ghouls”) and the then new and Richard Griffin regular from that point on, Sarah Nicklin, who both have the favorably b-movie glow and “Splatter Disco” goes to a whole new level. One of the best performances goes to Jason McCormick as Echo, a DJ Qualls lookalike, with a timely comedic toss that provides a unique schtick to keep the character rememberable and McCormick nails the character right on the flat head. Overall, there were no slacking performances; every actor was chin deep getting into their respective roles with the various fetishes, cloak and dagger shades, and violent intentions. Rounding out the cast is Carlos Brum (“Beyond the Dunwich Horror”), William DeCoff (“The Haunting of Alice D”), Robin L. Watkins (“Poultrygeist”), and Brian L. Mullen III (“Pretty Dead Things”).
If you never experienced a Richard Griffin feature, you’ll pleasantly find out very quickly the director goes all out and the Providence, Rhode Island born director has a great 1970’s-1980’s homage style side dished with lots of vibrant colors and the abundance of suspending smoke and you’ll see why we cater to much of his work. The script’s dialogue, co-written by Griffin and producer Ted Marr, also excellently defines and solidifies the quick wit and whimsical nature of the comedy-horror and to make no mistake, this comedy-musical-horror has no shame with perversions, has well edited bloody special effects, and is ultimately a blast of lively cult cinema! “Splatter Disco” is a self-proclaimed first slasher musical of it’s kind; honestly, I couldn’t think of a prior film of it’s kind, but “Splatter Disco” has hit and catchy imitative tunes provided by Tony Milano and performed by Daniel Hildreth that go hand-and-hand with the humbling dance choreography.
MVDVisual, POP Cinema, and Shock-O-Rama re-releases “Splatter Disco” onto a not rated DVD home video with a 16:9 widescreen presentation. Regrettably, I’m sorely disappointed in the video quality that fully suffers from the distorting and blotchy compression artifacts that make night scenes fuzzy and flimsy in defintion. The lossy 2.0 stereo track is par for the course, even with musical pieces and soundtrack overlay, but does provide a little restitution for the image loss. Bonus features are aplenty that include a commentary with director Richard Griffin and star Lynn Lowry, a behind-the-scenes documentary, alternate scenes, and a Shock-O-Rama trailer vault. “Splatter Disco” is an entertaining 87 minute Richard Griffin slasher capsule classic full of degenerate song and dance!
Former pin-up model Virginia “Ginny” Smith lives a solitary life on the street of a quiet Buffalo, New York suburban neighborhood. Her modeling past was prosperous, posing erotically with curves similar to that of pin-up queen Bettie Page, up until a newer, thinner model named Chloe undermines Ginny’s magazine spread career. Feeling abandoned, physically tortured, and seeking revenge throughout the years, Ginny eats up the competition from thin, to the fake, and to the virginal…literally! Sal and his mentally instable wife Debbie move in next door to Ginny. Soon after, Debbie suspects that her elder neighbor might be up to no good as people go into Ginny’s house but never come out. Chalking up her suspicions to psychosis, Sal ignores Debbie’s accusations until he mysteriously perishes in a car accident. Now nothing can stop Debbie from investigating into Ginny’s cold blooded habits.
“Model Hunger” is the long awaited directorial debut from long time scream queen and B-movie horror icon Debbie Rochon that publicly displays the dementedness clinging to the inner walls of her brain. Helming from off the screenplay penned by “Seed 2” producer James Morgart, Rochon quickly denotes the position of anti-supermodel figure, turning the thin, the snooty, and those who encourage that sort of behavior into nothing more than a gloppy stew of human chow. “Model Hunger” parodies the serious nature of young women whom go to extreme lengths of imitating the model beauties of today, but the film isn’t a clear-cut horror-comedy per say; instead, the genre of a bizarre cannibalism life style or social commentary revenge film might better suite the self-centering tone.
The premise most definitely classifies as a film Debbie Rochon would personally headline; Rochon personalized “Model Hunger” to her taste, but this time, Rochon’s sister-in-horror, Lynn Lowry (George A. Romero’s “The Crazies”) headlines as the vengeful, cannibalistic Ginny Smith. Lowry puts the hot in psychotic with a Southern Belle twist, delivering a memorable performance as a cougar-gone-cannibal and her character scores much of the Morgart screenplay dialogue that is overwhelmingly philosophical and ranting compared to a more downplayed principal character in the film’s third horror star – the veteran Tiffany Shepis. Shepis is Debbie next door and though that sounds like a title of a boorish 70’s porn, Debbie struggles with being burned out from a psychosis state that results in plagues of nightmares and prescribed pills. Aside from maybe the pill popping, nothing about Debbie’s persona brings to mind a porn starlet.
Contrary to a pair prominent female actresses who bring talent and experience from cult films such as “Tromeo and Juliet” and “Shivers” and a highlight of co-stars including the wonderful Michael Thurber (“The Sins of Dracula”), Brian Fortune (“Game of Thrones”), Carmine Capobianco (Psychos in Love) and “Chainsaw Sally’s” Suzi Lorraine casted ironically as a voluptuously large television host of “Suzi’s Secret,” the James Morgart script just couldn’t pull all the talent together. Points of unfocused storytelling noticeably stemmed from the first few scenes involving uncouth and dolled up cheerleaders practicing their routine, receiving their fundraiser packet, and going door-to-door soliciting. These segments run a natural course of supposedly setting up Lisa Dee (cheerleader Missy in the film) and Samantha Hoy (cheerleader Katie in the film) as the film’s leads. The squad practice could have been completely omitted and the story would have worked just the same without bamboozling the main players Lowry and Shepis. The script drags to a slow drift during the second act by not proceeding with much character progression other than Ginny slaughtering snared victim-after-victim to fill her icebox of superficial-inspired characters.
Honestly, the expectation of graphic violence had a sky high bar set upon the shoulders of Debbie Rochon’s inaugural film, but the special effects violence was unusually tame to a point, containing nothing too new and too extreme until near the finale that involves a naked Jehovah Witness and a medical grade scalpel. Aside from the lack of gross gratuity, the effects were borderline choppy; a prime example to consider would be the obvious rubber baseball bat, wielded by Ginny, that sprung forward and backward, like something out Looney Toon’s ACME company, when striking against an object, but “Model Hunger” was riddled, subtly throughout, with equipment flaws such as equipment shadows in scenes and a continuously shaky camera.
Wild Eye Releasing’s unrated DVD is presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. Aside from some awkward framing and a bitrate issue that causes a bit of blotchiness, the digital camera video looks good for the most part with an audio mix from “Friday the 13th” composer Harry Manfredini that’s well balanced. The director commentary, in the bonus features, is a highlight of the extras with Debbie Rochon letting you into her creative side of her film. The commentary is accompanied with deleted scenes, music video, an interview with Aurelio Voltaire, a Babette Bombshell short, trailers, and an Easter Egg! Overall, the underlining point is clear of reverse body-shaming in a very Hatfield versus McCoy scenario and Debbie Rochon, for her cherry-popping film, creates a solid horror entry that displays it’s quality scars and hiccups which the film, nor Rochon, apologizes for and that’s a filmmaker, and actress, I can get behind.
Billy, a good church-going man, reluctantly leaves his choir to join the community theater at the request of his girlfriend Shannon. What Billy doesn’t realize is that there are all different kinds of characters who partake in the community theater – the nerdy gamers, the anti-establishment antagonizers, the gays, and, of course, Dracula. Yes, Dracula – the Prince of Darkness. The theater’s director is a satanic worshipper who feeds off the sins of his actors to resurrect Dracula and start a whole new world order of vampires. “The Sins of Dracula” film is a homage to multiple horror genre branches. Decades including the 1970s and the 1980s source the brilliantly colored and expression heavy of the Hammer horror era and combine it with the gore of video nasties marking all present and accounted for in this ode to classic horror and that’s the creative style of director Richard Griffin and his Scorpio Film Releasing company which quickly produces many independent films that hit many media platforms. My previous film experience with Griffin includes “The Disco Exorcist” that implements film stock imperfections and the hardcore porn of the 1970’s. The other Griffin film, “Murder University,” aims to create a satirical look at a murderous cult gone collegiate. Lastly, my very first Richard Griffin film was Feeding the Masses wanted to be a social political zombie following in a George A. Romero fashion. So there is no surprise here that Griffin does what he does best, but after seeing “The Disco Exorcist” and “Murder University” both which I liked in previous reviews The Disco Exorcist review here and Murder University review here, “The Sins of Dracula” warranted high hopes for Griffin to do something new and cut ties with the old, regurgitated scenes. Enough about Griffin, let’s talk about “The Sins of Dracula.” Just from reading the synopsis alone, one can conclude that this horror-comedy will come off as a bit outrageous, delving into and dissecting the sins of certain kinds of people who walk in all kinds of life and exploiting them for the sake of our good boy Scott’s heroic journey and also exploiting them to awake the evil Dracula. The story doesn’t waste any time putting to waste the sinfully deemed characters and going on a Godsend vampire hunting spree. At the end, most peoples’ personal views are made light of in a satirical fashion. Michael Thurber, a staple actor of Griffin’s, does a solid job as a Hammer horror Dracula mirroring the likes of the vampire exposed Christopher Lee. Steven O’Broin, as Lou Perdition the satanist devotee theater director, had some excellent lines and quips and made his Vincent Price-esque character enjoyable when on screen. Another of Griffin’s minions, Aaron Peaslee pranced around fairly well as a gay theater actor and his raunchy sex scene with fellow actor Johnny Sederquist was the most controversial aspect of the film. I can’t say that about the other characters. Other characters fell a bit flat and didn’t convey their characters intentions well enough to pull off a spoofy-stereotype. The fact that their characters where put to death way too early in the film doesn’t give the character a chance to make their presence more well established. The blood letting could have been, well, bloodier, but there is enough letting to super soak and saturate one’s thirst. Some of the scenes are restaged from the likes of “Fright Night” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” the movie. Like I was saying early in the review about the film’s originality, the lack of new material makes the likelihood of repeating a viewing of “The Sins of Dracula” very unlikely which is difficult to say about a solid homage. “The Sins of Dracula” is good for a one time single viewing and but lacks new and fresh material to really captivate attention. The MVDVisual DVD cover also doesn’t explicitly want you to go out and rent this title, but the disc art is amazingly detailed and you shouldn’t judge a film’s material by the cover. I do strongly suggest to check out “The Sins of Dracula” if you’re into the Hammer horror scene and into Griffin’s Quentin Tarantino homage style of directing.